Travelers who stay at inns and bed and breakfast facilities enjoy a unique lodging environment that comes with a few risks atypical to hotel stays. Specifically, inns and bed and breakfast facilities are usually small, individually owned businesses that expect full payment for a traveler’s stay before arrival. Late arrivals, early departures, and cancellations do not usually qualify for refunds. If a traveler must cancel or abandon their stay, that pre-paid money is gone, so it’s important for you to have a travel insurance plan that includes coverage for cancellations and interruptions, in addition to other coverage, depending on your destination.
What are the risks of bed and breakfast stays?
Some of the unexpected things that can go wrong on a bed and breakfast trip include the following:
- On an afternoon hike, you trip and fall, breaking your ankle – even if your own health insurance coverage will foot the majority of the bill (and depending on the location, it may not), will you have the funds or credit on hand to cover your emergency transportation and co-payments?
- You’ve long planned a restful week on the beach, but the week before you are schedule to leave, a hurricane hits your destination – when a natural disaster strikes, having trip cancellation coverage ensures that you’ll receive be refunded your pre-paid trip costs.
- Days before your bed and breakfast stay, the innkeeper calls to tell you the inn has suffered a fire and won’t be open for business – while the innkeeper will likely offer you credit toward a future stay, they may not – after all, this is a small business and the rules are different. If they cannot refund your money, can you afford to lose the pre-paid costs? Having ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage can mean 50-100% of your travel investment is reimbursed.
- You’re on your way to spend a week in the Colorado mountains when a severe snowstorm shuts down the airport and highways – having to shell out additional (and unexpected) money for lodging, food, and transportation can put a crimp in any traveler’s budget, plus, you’ve already pre-paid for your inn stay and you’re losing that money. Having coverage for travel delays and reimbursement for the unused portion of your trip can make a difference.
- Half-way into your weekend retreat, your mother calls to say your son is very ill and you should come home immediately – there are usually no refunds for early departures when you stay at a bed and breakfast or inn, and you could be losing hundreds of dollars or more. Having trip interruption coverage will reimburse you the unused portion of your trip if you have to interrupt it for a covered reason.
- The innkeeper’s son calls the week before you leave to tell you the innkeeper is hospitalized and won’t be able to host your stay – this is unfortunate for the innkeeper but very inconvenient for you, and because it’s a small business, that’s how things work. Will you lose all your pre-paid expenses and have to cancel your trip?
- You pre-paid for your weekend inn stay but when you arrive, the business is closed – if the travel supplier you have paid closes up shop and defaults, can you afford to lose that money? Some travel insurance plans come with trip cancellation coverage for financial default.
What coverage do you need as a guest of an inn or bed and breakfast?
While the following is not an exhaustive list of all the coverages available with travel insurance plans, it describes those that are most useful to travelers who like to stay at inns and bed and breakfast facilities.
- ‘Cancel for any reason’ coverage ensures that you can cancel your trip for any reason at all (such as the town is destroyed by tornadoes but the inn is still open) and receive reimbursement for 50-100% of your trip costs. (Review the details of ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage.)
- Trip cancellation coverage provides reimbursement of your pre-paid non refundable trip costs when the trip has to be cancelled for a covered reason (such as the hospitalization of the innkeeper). (Review the details of trip cancellation coverage.)
- Trip interruption coverage provides reimbursement of your unused pre-paid trip costs when your trip has to be interrupted or abandoned for a covered reason (such as someone back home is suddenly very ill). (Review the details of trip interruption coverage.)
- Travel delay coverage provides a per-day amount for unexpected lodging, meals and transportation when your travel is delayed a certain number of hours for a covered reason (such as road closures due to snow slides). (Review the details of travel delay coverage.)
- Medical coverage provides advance payments or reimbursement for medical and dental care received on your trip – even in a foreign country. (Review the details of medical coverage.)
- Financial default coverage provides reimbursement for your pre-paid non refundable trip costs when a travel supplier ceases operations. (Review the details of financial default coverage.)
Who should buy this type of travel insurance?
Travelers like these should purchase adventure travel insurance:
- Travelers who simply prefer to stay at an inn or bed and breakfast – remember that most of these facilities are individually owned businesses and, as such, their refund policy varies.
- Travelers on organized retreats – in many cases, your trip will involve pre-paid lodging costs, meal costs, and even the costs for training or classes. Often, these types of events have a no refund policy if you cancel.
When should you buy your travel insurance?
Travelers should always purchase their policy just after making your first trip payment. In some situations, this timing is important because some benefits:
- pre-existing medical condition waivers,
- ‘cancel for any reason’, and
- ‘cancel for work reasons’
are only applicable if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days (usually 10-15) from making your initial trip deposit. Plus, you’ll benefit from the longest period of cancellation coverage.
Remember that all travel insurance companies offer a free look period with a refund if you decide the plan is not what you need.
Where should you buy your travel insurance?
We recommend purchasing your travel insurance directly from a third-party company for a number of reasons.
- Buying Travel Insurance from a 3rd party company vs. through a travel agent
- Buying Travel Insurance Directly from the Company vs. Using a Comparison Site
Very briefly, you’ll have more choices and options in your travel insurance plan if you purchase from a third-party company using a comparison tool.
How can you be sure your travel insurance coverage is adequate?
These tips will help you determine whether you have enough coverage.